Chef Forum banner

the quintessential(sp?) brownie

4638 Views 37 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  isa
what makes the quintessential brownie? as in the very chocolately fudgy kind- i have seen recipes using white sugar, brown sugar,
bittersweet choc. unsweetened choc. similar recipes that call for 1/2 to 1 c. flour - help- any opinions or favorite recipes out there?!
21 - 38 of 38 Posts
I'm glad to hear the strawberry pie turned out for you. I never had a problem with that recipes, you really had me puzzled. Which brownie did you like?

Try Mrs. Fields recipes...I promise you'll like them! ;)

Thanks for all the recipes you include here and the other discussions boards (actually, thanks to everyone for doing that!).

I'm a weekend breakfast cook in a B&B (and a weekday corporate job) and don't have much opportunity or time to make the tantalizing treats of which you speak. If I did, I'd probably consume mass quantities!!

Have you ever thought of amassing your recipes into a book? I'd buy it! Have you ever taught your craft? You're so knowledgeable and freely share your ideas, recipes, and help everyone out.

I really enjoy reading everyone's notes. Pastry really is rocket science.
Thanks for the kind words Henry. Their not my recipes so I don't deserve any credit. It's really fun to have this kind of feed back with others to share experiences, the internet is ausome!

My total fanitasy job would be to author and do the styling for baking books. I'd love to compile a book with sweet tables for professionals. To spark the ideas and simplify how easy it is to do creative work. I also think about teaching, but I don't have a degree or cerification so that's out too. So I do what I love here and hope you all don't think I'm over bearing.

I learn more from everyone else at these sites then I give, totally!

The small world I live in on the outskirts of a major city is so selfish. Cars won't stop for passing children at cross walks. People at work spend their time figuring out how to stab you in the back, and on and on. I get so frustrated with that mentality that I do my best to compensate the other way. Perhaps I go too far, but I'm myself.....
Keep being yourself, Wendy. That's the way we like you. I like your posts and learn a lot from them.

I have found the absolute best brownie recipe in the Dessert Bible from Cook's Illustrated. They have two recipes: one is for light and cakey and the other is fudgy and chewy. The fudgey and chewy recipe is the best I have ever tasted and anyone else who has eaten them agree. The trick is cooking them longer (not burning them, of course) and leaving them intact to sit all night long. It heightens the chew factor. I don't have the recipe handy but check out the Dessert Bible from Cook's Illustrated.
Is there any chance you could post those two recipes?? Please, please.....?
Makes sixty-four 1-inch brownies

Either Dutch-processed or natural cocoa works well in this recipe. These brownies are very rich, so we prefer to cut them into small squares for serving.

5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate,
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Fold two 12-inch pieces of foil lengthwise so that they measure 7 inches wide. Fit one sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; overhang will help in removal of baked brownies. Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula; bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days.)


Makes 12 bars

Make sure to cool the melted chocolate and butter for about ten minutes -- it can be warm to the touch but not hot. Batter can be doubled and divided evenly between two eight-inch pans or poured into one thirteen-by-nine-inch pan. If using one large pan, bake for about tweny-six minutes.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2/3 cup plain cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan set over simmering water or in a bowl in a microwave on medium power; set aside to cool.

2. Measure flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk briefly to combine; set aside.

3. Whisk sugar into cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then fold in flour mixture (and nuts) until just combined.

4. Pour batter into greased 8-inch square metal pan, 2 inches deep; bake until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge of pan comes out with a few fudgy crumbs, about 20 minutes. If batter coats toothpick, return pan to oven and bake 2 to 4 minutes more. Cool brownies completely in pan set on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. (Pan can be wrapped in plastic, then foil, for up to 2 days -- to preserve moistness, cut and remove brownies only as needed.)

[ August 28, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
See less See more
Oh KyleW,

There goes my diet (again) and it's all your fault! ;)
I would like to make a stab at making a couple of these recipes sugar free [will let you know if it's edible]. Several of them call for solid chocolate and the unsweetened should be okay. I'm forever being told to sub cocoa for chocolate in these types of recipes but have never found that to work very well. What do ya'll think?

BTW, I think that it is possible to find sugar free chocolate chips, but I have no idea how they would work in cooking.
This chart from our friends at Hershey's gives amounts for swapping cocoa for chocolate. This may be what you've tried, but I figured it was worth posting :)
Don't blame me. Blame Christopher Kimball.
There's something weird that keeps happening to me on this thread (only). Everytime I attempt to print I get thrown off line with the message I've done something illegal. I tried twice yesterday and just this morning and I get booted out totally. Also, if I type a message here, then hit back to read the thread, then go forward to finish typing my message dissapears. Are their little bugs that only effect certain threads or is this my computor only? :eek:
I can't account for the printing issue, but this is the second time I have heard about the "Back" issue. I would suggest 2 work arounds. The first is opening a second session of your browser. You can do this in Internet Explorer by dropping down the File menu and clicking on New and then Window. Same kind of thing in Netscape. This way you can have the thread in one window and your response in another. You can use Alt+Tab or the icons in the Task bar to switch between the 2. The second possibility is the thread box that appears at the bottom of the Reply page. You can scroll through the entire thread on the same page you type your reply.

[ August 29, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
First attempt at low sugar low fat brownies was a dismal failure. Well, I suppose they are edible.... Not that you would want
to eat them.

Used Kyle's recipe and used some actual bittersweet chocolate and subbed the rest in dutch cocoa. Subbed yogurt for the fats. Splenda replaced the added sugar.

Batter appeared too thick. Brownies are rather, uh, dense. Flavor is not absolutely dreadful but texture is way off. This is the same problem I had previously when subbing cocoa for baking or other chocolate.

Any ideas?
I can't think if I have the right name at this second...Alice Medrich (is that correct, she also wrote Chocolat from her famous bakery in CA?). She also has a small book on Cookies and Brownies and was one of the first Bigger named chefs do write a low fat/calorie baking book.

If your serious about low fat baking I'd definately look thru her book and the magazine Cooking Light (who also has 1 or 2 annual books now). The art of baking low fat isn't an easy topic at all. I tend to think that you could spend alot of time and money experimenting with-out any really good results indefinately.

After those two, I'd check thru Betty Crocker and Pillsbury latest baking books (toward the back of each) I think they both had "special" needs type of recipes...did you do any looking on line at Hersheys or Nestles? They probably have some information for low fat substitutions and recipes too...

This is a hard subject!
Thanks, Wendy. I'm actually pretty good at lowfat baking. And low sugar is a lot easier with Splenda. But I can't seem to make the chocolate to cocoa switch with success.]

Perhaps I need a recipe that starts with cocoa. But all the good brownie recipes start with chocolate. Sigh.

But I will try searching the sites you suggested. Sounds like a good start, thanks.
Fine Cooking had an article about brownies and there was a recipe for cocoa brownies which were pretty good. I'll dig it up. I also did a project in baking formula tech on brownies were we substituted prune puree for the fat, and while my kids to this day look suspiciously at any brownie I make, they weren't too bad either.
Have you thought replacing some of the fat in your recipe with applesauce or prune puree Nancy?
21 - 38 of 38 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.